1. Stop thinking ‘either – or’ thoughts
Exploiting your creative capital doesn’t mean ‘selling out,’ it doesn’t mean ‘going commercial,’ it doesn’t mean abandoning your identity as an artist.
You don’t need to throw your creative ideals out the window and start producing velvet paintings of kittens to woo your market.
You don’t need to abandon the work that has meaning to you in order to find a market for it.
But you must look for a market for it.
What doesn’t work is to create work that has profound meaning for you and then get pissed off if the first 10 people you show it to don’t get it.
There is a market for everything BUT it won’t necessarily find you. You may have to search high and low for it.
Or you may have to create it.
So stop thinking that you can either produce work that is creative or commercial.
The creative entrepreneur figures out how to be creative AND find/attract a commercial market for it.
2. Give up on ‘Build it and They’ll Come’ ideals
They’re out there.
In this big beautiful world of ours are more than enough customers for whatever you create.
The catch is that they probably aren’t looking for you. You are going to have to go out and find them, woo them, court them and add them to your stable of fans.
The idea that if you just launch your blog or set up an account on Instagram and people are going to ‘find’ you is really mistaken.
You are going to have to do the work to find your audience.
And once you find then, you are going to have to keep in regular contact with them, & help them to understand and learn more about your work.
This is the process of marketing.
And it takes real time and effort.
But the reward is building a business creating work you love and can be proud of.
3. Quit looking for shortcuts
There are no shortcuts to building a successful creative business.
Walden built his cabin in the woods one log at a time, and so too must you build your creative business one customer at a time.
Anyone who tells you there are shortcuts, or easy tricks to ‘drive traffic’ or ‘convert sales’ is trying to sell you something.
Yes, there are skills to learn and develop to find and build an audience for your work, but there are no quick fixes.
They all take work.
But as you build an audience for creative work that has meaning for you, it will all be worth it.
Start by picking one path, one tool to begin to connect with your audience and work it. Keep at it for quite some time, even if it doesn’t appear to be working, and after 6 months of hard graft, then you can assess whether it’s working.
Otherwise it’s premature and you’re hoping for a miracle.
If you want to succeed as a Creative Entrepreneur you have to quit hoping for miracles and start putting in the graft.